Trump administration finalizes rule allowing providers to deny care over religious beliefs

The Trump administration issued a final rule easing healthcare workers' ability to refuse care that contradicts their religious or moral beliefs.

The final rule builds off an executive order President Donald Trump signed in May 2017 aimed at safeguarding religious liberty. During Rose Garden remarks May 2, President Trump said the rule would protect "physicians, pharmacists, nurses, teachers, students and faith-based charities," according to Politico. He added, "Together, we are building a culture that cherishes the dignity and worth of human life."

The rule will increase enforcement of 25 existing federal laws that protect conscience rights, the administration said.

The rule was favored by anti-abortion and Christian conservative groups. Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, told Politico, "No one should be forced to participate in life-ending procedures like abortion or similar activities that go against their religious beliefs or moral convictions."

Several patient advocate groups strongly opposed the rule, arguing it would limit women's access to contraception or emergency abortions. They also claimed the rule could allow providers to deny care to gay and transgender patients, and may go against the Trump adminstration's efforts to fight HIV transmissions and the opioid epidemic by making it easier for providers to refuse HIV prevention treatment PrEP and naloxone.  

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